Sandiganbayan allows Jinggoy Estrada to post bail

MANILA (Updated) -- The Sandiganbayan Special 5th Division has allowed former senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada to post bail for his temporary liberty.

Alexis Suarez, Estrada's legal counsel, said the anti-graft court granted her client's omnibus motion to secure bail.

She said the court has set the bail at P1 million for the charge of plunder and P330,000 for the 11 counts of graft charges.

Estrada's wife, Precy, confirmed the news and said they will post bail on Saturday, September 16.

Earlier in the day, she denied the latest development on her husband's bail motion when was interviewed by reporters during her visit to the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Court sources said the Sandiganbayan 5th Division has created a Special Division with five members after the regular division failed to get a consensus on Estrada's omnibus motion to secure bail.

Those who voted to grant Estrada's bail petition are Associate Justices Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega, Reynaldo Cruz and Lorifel Lacap-Pahimna. Meanwhile, the two dissenters are Associate Justices Lagos and Zaldy Trespeses. Lagos is the chair of the regular 5th division.

Estrada, one of the senators involved in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam, has been detained since 2014 for charges of plunder and graft involving his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

In January, the anti-graft court denied the bail petition of Estrada and his co-accused, Janet Napoles, after the prosecution had established a "strong evidence of guilt" to deny the bail plea of the two accused. The court affirmed its resolution four months later.

The Ombudsman sued Estrada after he allegedly endorsed two of the fake non-government organizations (NGOs) allegedly owned by Napoles namely the Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (MAMFI) and the Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (SDPFFI) to be the partner NGOs in implementing his PDAF-funded projects.

Estrada is accused of amassing P183.793-million worth of kickbacks for allocating his PDAF from 2004 to 2012 to the Napoles' fake NGOs.

Estrada if among the three senators initially charged with plunder and graft before the Sandiganbayan involving their PDAF. The two others are former senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce-Enrile.

A newspapers report quoted Revilla on Thursday that Estrada started packing his belongings in preparation for his temporary release from the PNP custodial center.

He said he was sad because Estrada will be leaving him but happy for his friend who will be reunited with his family soon. (SunStar Philippines)
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